Live on Skysports 1: Sun 13.30 & 16.00: Aston Villa are 10/11 with Stan James to relieve the pressure on boss Gerard Houllier by grabbing a crucial win against Newcastle.
Pressure is mounting on Aston Villa and under-fire boss Gerard Houllier, whose side remain in the thick of a relegation dogfight after a draw at Everton last week. That result means the Villans have now won just one of their last seven in the league, bowing meekly out of the FA Cup in that period as well and a victory for them looks crucial in today’s home clash against Newcastle.
The Magpies are 18/5 outsiders but chalked up an impressive 4-1 victory against Wolves a week ago and with a tense atmosphere likely at Villa Park, some might fancy them at 3.5 (5/2) with Betdaq to land a share of the spoils. However, much to the relief of the Villa faithful, and indeed Houllier, a home win looks on the cards and bookies agree, Stan James’ 10/11 the best price available.
Newcastle arrive in the second city without suspended midfield pair Cheik Tiote and top scorer Kevin Nolan while striker Leon Best is also out, so Alan Pardew will have to reshuffle his pack. Those absentees will inevitably weaken United’s attack, the last thing they need given that only rock-bottom Wigan have scored fewer goals on the road and with this in mind a decent case can be made for a Villa victory ‘to nil’ at 2/1 with Partybets.
William Hill quote odds of 13/2 for Houllier’s charges to grab the game’s only goal and as a close encounter is likely, punters might consider bet365’s 3/1 posted against a Villa success by a one-goal margin.
The form of Darren Bent meanwhile, could be crucial to the hosts’ survival hopes and after his brace at Goodison Park, he’s 7/2 (Paddy Power) to break the deadlock here, although a safer bet is Coral’s 6/5 for the England striker to add to his tally at any stage.
A third consecutive draw dented Arsenal’s title aspirations last week as Blackburn became the second team in three outings to shut out the Gunners. However, Arsene Wenger’s men shouldn’t have the same trouble finding the net as they visit a Blackpool side leaking goals left, right and centre and Arsenal are 2/5 with Ladbrokes to collect all three points.
In freefall having won just one of their last eleven, Ian Holloway’s troops are now odds-on at 8/11 (Totesport) for the drop and It’s hard to see Betfred’s 7/1 outsiders arresting their slide against the Gunners, who are 8/11 (William Hill) to come out on top in a match that produces at least three goals. Having scored ten of his side’s last 16 league goals, Robin Van Persie is an eye-catching 10/3 (Sportingbet) to break the Bloomfield Road deadlock.